No Hopes for Release for the Last Cuban Spy in a US Jail
The U.S has no intention of releasing or swapping jailed Cuban spy Ana Belen Montes — a top Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) analyst on Cuban affairs who is serving a 25-year prison sentence after being arrested for espionage, in 2001.
On February 28, Montes, also called "The Queen of Cuba", turned 60 in her cell at a maximum security prison in Fort Worth, Texas. And despite the thaw in relations between Havana and Washington under Barack Obama, which saw three of the last Cuban spies returned home in 2014, Montes will probably remain behind bars nine more years,until her sentence ends, as reported in El País.
There has been speculation that the United States and Cuba are negotiating Montes’ exchange for Assata Shakur, the Black Panther leader accused of shooting a police officer who managed to escape to Cuba in 1984, claiming political asylum. But a 2016 US State Department internal document rejects the option.
Montes is considered one of the worst traitors to the country. She authored some of the key U.S. intelligence assessments on Cuba. She was arrested in 2001 and was sentenced in 2002 after she pleaded guilty to spying for Cuba throughout her 16 years at the DIA.
Montes, who is of Puerto Rican descent, declared in a 2015 interview with the blog Cayo Hueso, which supports the Cuban government, that she has not changed. “I will not be silenced. My commitment to the island cannot be ignored,” she was quoted as saying.
Unlike the three prisoners released in 2014, the Cuban government has never officially campaigned for Montes’ freedom. In June 2016, Miami Spanish-language daily El Nuevo Herald reported that Cuban officials had asked after her during a meeting in the United States. A few months earlier, Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez had called for her release at a concert in Spain. The request was repeated a few days ago at one of his concerts in Puerto Rico. Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuba’s President Raúl Castro, posted a report from Venezuela’s official news agency mentioning that a campaign for Montes’ freedom had been organized in Cuba.
As reported in El País.